Thursday, March 24 9am- on: Coffee and Pastries available (Reed #112) Thursday, March 24 Session 1

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9th Annual

Penn State Behrend Gender Conference
March 24 & 25, 2016

Reed Building



picture of a tattooed female

Thursday, March 24

9AM- on: Coffee and Pastries available (Reed #112)

Thursday, March 24

Session 1 (9:05-10:20AM)

A. Gender Outlaws in Science Fiction (Reed #114)

Moderated by Prof. Craig Warren (English)

Fantasy worlds, as portrayed in television and in video games, offer new opportunities to challenge binary gender roles. This panel considers the portrayal of non-binary characters in British, Canadian and American series (including Dr. Who, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Star Trek, the X-Files, and Orphan Black) as well as in the extremely popular video game Mass Effect.

  • “Science Fiction and Feminism” - Prof. Melanie Hetzel-Riggin and Prof. Susan Galle-Boyko (Psychology)

  • ‘Just One. I’m A Few. No Family, Too. Who Am I? Motherhood in Orphan Black”- Martha Larkin

  • “FemShep – The Surprise Face of BioWare’s Mass Effect” - Alicia Hampe

B. Promoting Gender Equity in the Worldwide Classroom (Reed #113)

Moderated by Prof. Meg Burke (Education)

This panel is part of a “mini-conference” on educational equity throughout the world. The focus is both abroad, looking at barriers to girls’ educational success in Ghana and at the famous battle of international icon Malala, as well as at home, where teachers and classroom peers can make a difference in improving the environment for non-binary gendered students.

  • “Misgendered and Misunderstood: Education Professionals and Students’ Gender Identity” - Blake Donnald

  • “Malala Yousafzai and her battle with the Taliban” - Kylie McSwaney and Samantha Sullivan

Session 2 (10:35-11:50) – Reed #114

Bystander Intervention and Sexual Assault Prevention”

Facilitated by Prof. Melanie Hetzel-Riggin (Psychology)

Penn State is one of many universities who have committed to sexual assault prevention by use of bystander intervention, a model which trains people to help stop potentially dangerous scenarios. In this presentation by Behrend’s own Coping, Stress and Trauma Laboratory, students will present original research on this model. Topics include:

  • Bystander Physiological Risk Recognition study Evaluation of the Bystander Intervention Program for Resident Assistants

  • The “I Will Intervene” social norms campaign

  • Current best practices in sexual assault prevention programming

Session 3 (12:05-1:20PM)

A. Fashion Outlaws: Harnessing Fashion’s Power for Positive Social Change (Reed #114)

Moderated by Prof. Sarah Whitney (Women’s Studies)

The students of WMNST 106 will be leading a multi-media discussion of how fashion can inspire positive social change. See and discuss how brands you may know have promoted issues including women’s equality, diversity, body positivity, and the end to body shaming.

B. “Isms and Inequity: Are We Part of the Problem?” (Reed #113)

Facilitated Faculty Workshop by Prof. Karrie Bowen (Communications)

Understanding social justice, as it exists in any society, requires the ability of people have a deeper understanding of where they stand in their world with regard to privilege.  One way this can be done is aiding individuals in confronting their own personal prejudices through different kinds of tolerance training and an understanding of how we all bring differences to the conversation.  However, what if we were to stop examining the differences that exist, and instead, as a culture, agreed to make those differences a “non-issue” and concentrate on what makes us all the same? The idea has been argued that marginalized groups, in pointing out their own differences from the majority, do not foster inclusion, but rather continue to perpetuate that marginalization.  Focusing on the idea of eliminating the “-isms”, this forum will create an honest and safe space to explore what would happen if society stopped pointing out the differences that exist regarding gender roles and further examine the idea of what our world would be like if we were to eliminate labels.

Faculty interested in attending should RSVP to Prof. Bowen at

Session 4 (1:35-2:50)

A. Promoting Gender Equity in the Worldwide Classroom, II (Reed #114)

Moderated by Prof. Ashley Sullivan (Education)

Our discussion of international educational equity continues with student presentations comparing the comparative development of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs for young women, as well as the challenges confronting Russian students who identify as LGBTQ.

  • “International Growth of STEM Programs for Girls: US and India” - Sarah Pancerev and Kati Piger

  • “LGBTQ Life in Russia” - Danielle Lee & Karlie Aschenbrenner

B. The Gendered Experience of Migration (Reed #113)

Facilitated by Prof. Janet Neigh (English)

In this roundtable discussion, students will be discussing literary examples of migration, and unpacking gendered differences in the mobility and reception granted women and men. Featuing: Emily Bailey, Cassondra Barrett, Aaron Ditri, Alicia Hampe, Madison Hepler, Megan Krusel, Gabrielle Ross, and Kimberly Shaner.

Session 5 (3:05-4:00PM)

A. Session: Gender in Popular Culture: Music and Fashion (Reed #114)

Moderated by Prof. Sarah Whitney (English/Women’s Studies)

This session will continue our focus on challenging gender rules and binaries in the popular sphere. Topics will include critiques of student dress codes, particularly as they target transgender students and police female sexuality, as well as the role that pop music plays in shaping our attitudes about gender and sexuality.

  • “The Effect of Female and Male Objectification in Popular Music” – Taylor Morris, Jess Stoker and Nur Amira Kamaruddin

  • “I Am Not A Distraction: Examining Female Dress Codes in Schools” - Doniciana Cortes

B. Promoting Gender Equity in the Worldwide Classroom, III (Reed #113)

Moderated by Prof. Ashley Sullivan (Education)

The discussion continues with a diverse array of educational equity topics, looking abroad to consider how the nations of Britain and Pakistan consider education that is inclusive of gender and sexuality, as well as a timely pre-keynote discussion of the power and challenges that tattoos and body art pose in the classroom.

  • “British Curricular Integration of LGBTQ Issues” – Amber Bowers and Borquan Altimimi

  • “Knowledge is Power: Women’s Education in Pakistan” - Greg Cass, Shayne Watson and Gionna Fonseca

  • Tattoos in Teaching” - Danielle Lee, Karlie Aschenbrenner and Kylie McSwaney


Session 6.

7:30PM - “Bodies of Subversion”

A Conversation with
Margot Mifflin

Margot Mifflin is the author of several books including Bodies of Subversion, a social history of women and tattoos, which was deemed “delicious social history” and “profoundly moving” by The New York Times. Recently released in its third edition, Bodies of Subversion discusses the evolution of women’s tattoo art over two centuries.

Join Mifflin as she discusses the changing social attitudes towards tattooing, the rise of therapeutic tattoos for abuse survivors and ex-prisoners, tattoo as performance art, the impact of reality television, and more. Booksigning to follow.

Friday, March 25

9AM- on: Coffee and Pastries available (Reed #112)

Session 1. 10:00-11:00AM (Reed #114)

Gender Outlaws On and Off the Page”

Moderated by Prof. Aaron Mauro (English)

In this session, outlaw gender will be considered from two faculty perspectives. Prof. Dan Schank will address how feminist performance artist Ana Mendieta examines the violence done to women's bodies in a patriarchal culture, the relationship between violence and creative expression, and the meaning of ritual and sacrifice in Santería spiritual practices from her native Cuba.

Prof. Andrew Caswell will review research about the “precarious manhood thesis,” which posits that manhood is a tenuous and elusive social status that is hard to achieve and easy to lose. Consequently, men are highly motivated to protect their coveted manhood status by engaging in public displays of masculinity and avoiding any behavior which could be perceived as feminine.

  • “Violence, Agency and the Legacy of Ana Mandieta” - Prof. Dan Schank (English)

  • “Precarious Manhood: Why Men Are Reluctant Outlaws”

Prof. T. Andrew Caswell (Psychology & Counseling, Gannon University)

Session 2. (11:15-12:05)

A. English Alumnae Panel - Gender, Literature and Pop Culture

(Reed #114)

Moderated by Prof. Joshua Shaw (Philosophy)

We welcome back former Behrend students in this panel, which will feature their research on gender roles in classical literature (from Andrew Marvell to Ursula LeGuin), Annie Proulx’s famous Westerns, and a cult television show praised for its ability to provoke!

  • American Horror Story’s Liz Taylor: Character or Caricature?” - Beth Panko

  • “Still Coy Mistress? Changes in Female Literary Representation” - Valerie Maye,

  • “Half Wild Men and Crazy Half-Wits: Annie Proulx’s Grotesque” – Brienna Fleming

B. Breaking the Norm- Women in the Forefront of Media (Reed #113)

This presentation will bring current and former Communication students together to discuss advances in women’s participation in print, broadcast and digital media.

Facilitated by Prof. Karrie Bowen (Communication)

Session 3: 12:10-1:10PM

A. Differenced Subjectivities and Gender Roles in Film and Television (Reed #114)

Presented by Prof. Susan Galle-Boyko (Psychology), Austin Kobylinski & Erin Skelly

In this presentation, our participants will discuss cosplay and other sites of gender boundary breaking. Topics include personal vs. societal expectations, lifespan development, conditioning/desensitization, out-casting vs. community-building, and venues that cross gender roles and boundaries.
B. “Trans-Formations in Children’s Literature: Locating Differenced Gendered Subjectivities in Bilingual Children’s Picture Books” (Reed #113)

In this presentation, Prof. Laurie Urraro (Spanish) and Prof. Ashley Sullivan (Education) will discuss their research, which has shown that transgender children rarely appear in picture books written in English, almost never in picture books written in Spanish, and do not figure at all into any bilingual (English-Spanish) children's picture books. They will discuss the importance of including differenced gendered subjectivities in order to foment representation of and societal acceptance for trans individuals.

Session 4: 1:25-2:15PM

"Opening New Perspectives: Female Writers Tell All," Creative Writing Alumnae and Student Panel (Reed #114)

Moderated by Prof. Tom Noyes (Creative Writing)

In this session, we’ll hear from current student writers and graduates from the Creative Writing program. The panel will engage both readings of their works and discussions of gender within the works, including characterization, stereotypes, and voice.

  • Courtney Elliott-Lewis, "Gender & The Dystopian: The Un/Importance of Conformity"

  • Kalli Oberlander, “Time for Change: Avoiding the Gaze”

  • Morgan Bradt, selections from “The Cleric”

  • Meghan Vorisek, “Visible Women, Gentle Men”

Session 5: 2:30-3:20PM

A. Gender in Focus – China (Reed #114)

Moderated by Prof. Almedina Merzihic (English)

This session will explore the rich diversity of gender issues in China. Two presenters will take us through ancient texts, discovering hidden female role models and ‘bromantic’ content. Our final presenters will return to the topic of educational equity, looking at the impact of son preference in rural areas.

  • “One Day Without Seeing You is Like Three Months to Me – A Text-Based Analysis of a ‘Bromantic’ Relationship in an Ancient Chinese Poem” - Arthur Wang

  • “Discovering the Overlooked Cultural Contributions: Reconsidering Wu Zetian, the Only Female Emperor of China” - Yifan Xu

  • “Son Preference in Rural China” - Malquan Pullium and Alyssa Acri

B. Session: Gender Outlaws, Outlanders and Interlopers

(Please Note Location: Reed 117 - Auditorium)

This session will consider perspectives on being outside traditional gender norms. The session will be led by Prof. Laurie Urraro (Spanish), Prof. Susan Galle-Boyko (Psychology), and Prof. Ashley Sullivan (Education). Topics include the “outsider status” of bisexual people, and a panel discussion (with the term 'pan', meaning 'all-inclusive') whereby various genders outside the binary realm are normalized. Current ingroup bias leaves the individual feeling like an outlaw, outlander, or interloper. This panel discussion will parse the struggles and triumphs in 21st century society with the discussion will reduce, and even eliminate, stereotypes and negative associations.

3:30PM on - LadyFest Begins!

Everyone is encouraged to attend the third annual LadyFest Erie, beginning right downstairs in the McGarvey Commons.

LadyFest is a global phenomenon. First begun on the West Coast in 2000, and now celebrated in locations around the world, LadyFest is a community based, not-for-profit music and arts festival for women artists. Female-led bands, solo artists, and community resource tables are showcased. First organized in Erie by a Behrend student, LadyFest Erie introduces us to the best in Erie’s musical scene and creates a positive feminist atmosphere.

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